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Covington Council to narrow down city manager candidates

COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council will meet in closed session for up to nine hours next week in an effort to narrow down the top three candidates for city manager.

The City Council is scheduled to meet for three hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in closed session for candidate interviews. Mayor Ronnie Johnston said candidates have been narrowed down to eight and the goal is to have that pool narrowed to the top three by the end of next week.

Once that happens, the top three candidates' names will be released in accordance with the Open Records Act.

City Manager Steve Horton retired Dec. 21 after seven years in that position. In August the city hired The Mercer Group Inc. of Atlanta to handle the search for the next city manager. At a November council meeting, it was reported that 98 candidates had applied.

The Mercer Group's fee is $15,000 plus out-of-pocket expenses not to exceed $4,500, such as travel, lodging, telephone and research. The cost does not include the expense of final candidates traveling to interview with city officials, which varies depending on location of the candidate, but The Mercer Group estimates the cost at $750 to $1,000 per person, with the city to reimburse each candidate.

The council decided that the city manager will not be required to live within city limits, as members did not want to deter qualified candidates from applying.